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IIS - Merril Silverstein - 15/03/2024

NASP International and Interdisciplinary Seminars

 

Merril Silverstein (Syracuse University)

Intergenerational Transmission of Religiosity and Pro-Social Values:
Evidence from a 50-Year Longitudinal Family Study in the U.S.

Chair: Ferruccio Biolcati (NASP - University of Milan)


15 March 2024, h. 14.30
Room A
NASP Graduate School in Social and Political Sciences
Via Pace, 10 - Milan

 

Abstract

The number of religious "nones"—individuals who don't identify with any religion—has accelerated in recent decades and is more commonly found in recent cohorts of young adults. In this presentation, I examine intergenerational continuity and change in religiosity within families over the last half century to illustrate historical patterns of parental influence. Using a sample of five-generation families deriving from Southern California, analyses examine parent-child differences and stability in religious intensity within three dyadic cohorts of parents and their young adult children between 1971 and 2021. Qualitative data are used to describe types of families experiencing multigenerational religious solidarity and conflict, and consequences when generations are religiously in opposition. Finally, focusing on young adult religious "nones", the analysis examines the parental religious identities from which they derive and their consequent non-religious spiritual practices. This mixed-methods study reveals several paradoxes with respect to religious transmission: the simultaneous presence of decline and stability in religiosity across generations, religion as a source of both solidarity and division in families, the transmission of non-religion as a basis for intergenerational continuity, and the liminality of religion as it transforms from its traditional form in older generations into various states of spirituality in younger generations.

 

This seminar is part of the NASP International and Interdisciplinary Seminars Series 2024.

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